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Graham: U.S. needs permanent Afghan bases

Nov. 14, 2010 at 12:43 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Sen. Lindsey Graham called Sunday for U.S. bases to be in Afghanistan "in perpetuity."

Interviewed on ABC's "This Week," Graham, R-S.C., recounted his recent meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, when he visited Kabul with a congressional delegation.

"We talked about, quite frankly, looking long term with Afghanistan about having two air bases in a permanent fashion in Afghanistan to provide stability," he said.

"What I want to talk about is winning," he added, "having the ability to stabilize Afghanistan and be a good partner with the United States forever. That means we're going to need military force for quite a while."

After 2014, he said, when the Afghan forces "hopefully get in the lead, it will be great to have a couple of air bases there in perpetuity to help the Afghans to send the right signal to the regions."

Graham also questioned President Barack Obama's goal of reducing U.S. troops there by mid-2011, saying, "2014 is the right date to talk about. That's when Karzai suggests that Afghans will be in the lead, and I'm very pleased to hear President Obama talk about 2014."

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